The Great Debaters

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The Great Debaters ★★★ 2007 (PG-13)

Inspirational story focusing on the debate team from all black Wiley College in East Texas who took on—and beat—all comers, including vaunted white rivals, during the 1930s. Debate coach (and labor/civil rights organizer) Melvin B. Tolson (director Washington) winnows down his prospects to four: earnest Hamilton Burgess (Williams), debonair Henry Lowe (Parker), aspiring lawyer and rare female debater Samantha Booke (Smollett), and studious, teenaged prodigy James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker), who's trying to please his theology professor father (Forest Whitaker, no relation). Naturally in the Jim Crow south they run into lots of problems before the big confrontation with the oh-so-superior Harvard team. The pros graciously step back to allow their younger colleagues room to shine. 127m/C DVD . US Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Nathaniel Parker, Jurnee Smollett, Denzel Whitaker, Jermaine Williams, Gina Ravera, John Heard, Kimberly Elise; D: Denzel Washington; W: Robert Eisele; C: Philippe Rousselot; M: James Newton Howard, Peter Golub.

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The Great Debaters

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